The conflict sides must rely on themselves, stated the EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus Philippe Lefort at Yerevan State University today. The sides main bore and continue to bear responsibility for the resolution of the conflict while the EU can support but not do miracles, he said.
He says they do not want a war because it would be a disaster for the three countries of the region but he advises not to rely on the international partners because they are not almighty. Every international actor pursues first of all their own interest, and the solution of the problem must be found inside, the diplomat said.
Mr. Lefort thinks that the NK conflict seriously constrains the development of Armenia, at the same time advising not to get disappointed because there is no conflict that defies a settlement.
He says the best ally is hope when the two states live in a complicated situation, hope that there will be an alternative solution. He thinks the principles of Madrid are a serious alternative, and the EU can support to bring them into being.
The special representative says the OSCE is trying to prevent violations of the ceasefire by the Azerbaijani side at the line of contact. The number of tragedies grows, he says, noting that they have no responsibility, and the OSCE must operate this mechanism, and the sides must really respect their commitments.
Philippe Lefort did not make a clear comment on the question about the attitude of the EU to the facts of violation of the agreement on conventional arms in Europe by Azerbaijan which continues to buy arms in immense amounts.
He said he thinks that in a highly complicated conflict when everything tends towards destabilization the use of the language of war and militaristic rhetoric must be prevented. He says there are concerns about boosting of armament by both sides, which is not a good sign. A country has the right to ensure its own security but this is a race of armaments, he said.
The diplomat thinks it is not right that Karabakh is isolated because it is not useful, so they demand that the sides should not set preconditions that complicate access to Nagorno-Karabakh. He says they do not have the mandate of access whereas the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs have. Philippe Lefort thinks the Minsk Group format change carries a risk that the sides will be deprived of their current state and will return to square one.
The European diplomat also mentioned that the EU thinks the South Caucasus must be rebuilt, linked with the world and particularly the European Union. He says they will thus have the primary role which they had in the Balkans.